Posted July 17, 2018

Our Favorite Lemonade Recipes & Hacks

Eat + Drink

With summer officially underway, there’s no better time to cool down with an ice-cold glass of lemonade. Whether you’re lounging poolside, packing a picnic, or prepping for a backyard barbecue, a fresh-squeezed pitcher of homemade lemonade is perfect for the occasion. Just in time for August’s National Lemonade Day, here are our tips for perfecting your go-to recipe. Who knows, you might even give your local lemonade stand a run for its money.

Annabelle Ludwig via SIX15

Discover summer in a glass. (Photo credit: Annabelle Ludwig via SIX15)

We sat down with Chef Kris Koch of The SIX15 Room inside The Kimpton Grand Hotel Minneapolis for lemonade hacks that help make the juice worth the squeeze.

  • “Make your lemons easier to juice by softening them in the microwave, about 10-20 seconds depending on how strong your microwave is, prior to juicing. The goal is to soften the lemons—not to cook them, which slightly breaks down the pulp inside.”
  • “No juicer, no problem! Peel lemons and toss them in a blender with ¼ cup of water. Blend lemons and strain through a fine strain colander.”
  • “Simple syrup is great way to sweeten lemonade and it’s easy to make ahead of time. Add equal parts water and granulated sugar over heat until it boils, then cool.”
  • “In addition to simple syrup, agave nectar is another great way to sweeten lemonade—as a plus, it’s also delicious on pancakes.”

Chef Kris’ Favorite Homemade Lemonade Recipe:

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup cucumber juice (the easiest way to make this is in a blender with an English Cucumber)
  • ¼ cup simple syrup
  • 2-3 quarts water

Stir to combine. Garnish with a sliced lemon, lime, cucumber and sprig of mint.

@MargJohnsonVA via Twenty20

Elevate your cocktails with a fresh garnish. (Photo Credit: @MargJohnsonVA via Twenty20)

To help get your creative juices flowing, these are some of our favorite recipes for homemade lemonade with a decidedly more adult twist. Try a boozy take on the classic Arnold Palmer, incorporating green tea-infused rum and guava, or a hard lemonade spiked with unexpected hints of basil and hibiscus.

TEA-ki, by lead bartender Justin Golash at DNV Rooftop

TEA-ki at DNV Rooftop Lounge (Photographer: Scott Suchman)

Who doesn’t love an Arnold Palmer in the summertime? (Photo Credit: Scott Suchman)

This boozy Arnold Palmer combines Cotton and Reed rum infused with green tea, Batavia Arrack (a sugarcane spirit), guava, lemon juice, and orgeat.


  • 1.5 green tea infused Cotton and Reed White Rum (see sub recipe)
  • .5 Batavia Arrack
  • 1 Guava
  • .5 lemon
  • .5 orgeat (see sub recipe to make at home or use store bought)

Directions: Shake all of the ingredients together and strain into wavy rocks glass.

Sub Recipe: Green Tea-Infused Rum

Directions: Steep three tea bags of green tea in a liter of rum. Allow to sit at room temperature overnight.

Sub Recipe: Orgeat

  • 1 pound sliced almonds
  • 1 pound sugar
  • Three drops of orange blossom water
  • Water

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roast almonds in a pan for seven minutes. Soak in water for 48 hours, allowing the water to cover the almonds fully. Blend in a blender or food processor. Strain out solids through chinois. Add sugar and orange blossom water.

Herbivore, by lead bartender Brendan Ambrose at Firefly

Herbivore Firefly (Photographer: Scott Suchman)

Firefly‘s lead bartender Brendan Ambrose adds fresh herbs to his lemonade to instantly elevate the flavor. (Photo Credit: Scott Suchman)

This hard lemonade is summer in a glass with lots of fresh citrus and herbs. It features Botanist gin or Ketel One vodka, Dry Curaçao, Thai Basil-infused lemon juice, Hibiscus-rose tincture, and freshly pressed lemonade.

Shiso Vain, by lead bartender Sarah Rosner at Radiator

Shiso Vain at Radiator, Photographer: Jennifer Hughes

Seriously, don’t forget the ice! (Photo Credit: Jennifer Hughes)

A nod to the Carly Simon classic and the shiso flavors in the drink, this boozy lemonade is made with half of a freshly squeezed lemon, sour-plum red shiso vinegar, Bulleit bourbon, and a touch of club soda.


  • ½ lemon
  • 1/3 oz Sour Plum-Red Shiso Vinegar (available in specialty food stores and online)
  • 2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
  • Fever Tree soda
  • Shiso leaf

Directions: Squeeze and drop lemon into a Collins glass. Add vinegar and bourbon. Top with Fever Tree club soda. Garnish with a shiso leaf.







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